New commercial drone flight testing facility to open in Queensland

Image Credit: Queensland Government

Queensland will become the home of a new $14.5 million commercial drone flight testing facility that will create new high-tech jobs in the North West.

The facility, which will test small-to-medium sized drones weighing between 30-150 kilograms, will be located at Cloncurry Airport, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2020.

The State Government will invest $14.5 million in the first stage of the project, which will include a hangar, operation room and surveillance radar and communications equipment.

In making the announcement, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the facility will create 65 new jobs during construction and help diversify the economy in the region.

“It’s just one of 13 innovative diversification initiatives that tap into the potential of the North West, and further proof that by working together with local councils and the community, we can grow Queensland’s economy,” the Premier added.

The world’s largest aerospace group, The Boeing Company, will be the first to conduct trials at the facility, creating an exciting new aerospace industry for the region.

Boeing Director of Phantom Works International Shane Arnott said the company is looking forward to safely and securely test the latest advances in unmanned systems technology.

“The creation of what will be one of the world’s largest commercial unmanned flight test facilities is critical to establishing Australia as a global leader in autonomous technology,” Dr Arnott concluded.

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